The ISS Is Sending TV Signals back to Earth

If you have the right setup, you can receive analog TV signals from the International Space Station. AMSAT UK has the details for the curious. This is Slow Scan Television (SSTV), so it’s more like a slide show than the video you’re used to.

Please note the Motherboard link is chock-full of inaccuracies. First of all, you don’t need any license, Amateur or otherwise, to receive RF signals (in the US or Canada, check your local regulations elsewhere). Second, while it may indeed take a week or more to receive your ham license, that’s FCC processing time after you’ve successfully passed a licensing examination. Assuming you’ll have to spend at least a little bit of time studying for the exam a week is wishful thinking.

If you’re interested in getting your license, the ARRL’s page on licensing is a good place to start.

Goodbye Flickr

I closed my old Flickr account that I opened back in 2002. Too many changes, too little attention to the right things, too much Yahoo. Flickr couldn’t decide what it wanted to be and its lack of focus doomed it in the age of cameraphones. I’m on 500px now and couldn’t be happier.

Not that it matters given my extremely limited page views but all of my old photo posts with Flickr-hosted images will no longer display correctly. I should probably fix that but it doesn’t really seem worth the effort. A couple of my photos were linked to by a couple of sites but all of those links are old and it’s doubtful anyone will notice.

The aftermath of Go Set a Watchman and Harper Lee’s death

Yes, I’m somewhat obsessed with Mockingbird. I suspect it’s in no small part to having grown up in the 60s and witnessing the racial upheaval that haunted that decade.

Author Diane McWhorter was a friend of Harper Lee when they both lived in NYC. Although McWhorter had plenty of opportunities to talk with Lee, mysteries remain in the aftermath of Go Set a Watchman and her death.

The one that intrigues me the most is the real story about what happened when Lee submitted Watchman for publication. History (legend?) says it was in many ways not suitable yet when it was finally released, despite not having be altered in the meantime, it was a fully realized piece of work. What really transpired between author and editor has been lost to time and death but it seems clear there’s more to this than has ever been revealed.

How CERN Fights Hackers

Talk about attack surface: CERN has to keep tabs on around 40,000 bring-your-own-devices from professors, technicians, and other workers; academics and engineers also connect to systems remotely. The organization’s two main data centres in Switzerland and Hungary have around 100,000 hard-drives and 13,000 servers in total.

Then there’s the LHC’s computing grid, spread across North America, Europe, and Asia, which reprocesses data generated by the experiments. Control systems for equipment need to be secure as well, and CERN hosts around 10,000 websites.

Ain’t No Sunshine

Here’s my take on the Bill Withers classic, Ain’t No Sunshine. Backing track as usual by Band In A Box. I played my Heritage H-575 electric archtop with all effects in Garageband.

I have to admit that while playing with the computer is efficient, it’s hardly inspiring and having to also operate the recorder gets to be a bit much when you’d rather be concentrating on the music.